Zanclus cornutus   (Linnaeus,  1758) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Mya Than Tun

Size: 20 cm.

Color: Yellow with two broad black or brown cross bands, the anterior getting broader inferiorly, reaching with its hind margin from origin of dorsal fin through base of pectoral to anus, its front margin includes the eye, the narrower posterior band extends from soft dorsal to top of soft anal, its hind margin is bordered by a blue line, three similar more or less curved blue, in alcohol whitish, lines are present on anterior band, caudal nearly totally occupied by a broad black cross band, anteriorly and posteriorly bordered by a blue and white or pearl-colored margin. A brown or black band from inter orbital space to tip of snout, connected with a similar curved band inclosing a triangular spot of the ground color, mandibula and ventrals blackish, pectorals, dorsal and anal yellowish brown, the two last with a dusky hind margin in adult.

Body strongly compressed, dorso-ventrally much elevated, oval, anterior profile above and below conical produced snout concave. Height about 1.25 in length, head 2.25-2.50. Eye 4.5 to nearly 5 in adult. Supra orbital ridge serrate in young, developing in adolescent an osseous protuberance which in adult forms on each side of concave inter orbital space a pointed horn. The conical snout strongly projecting beyond anterior profile, about 1.5 in length of head, its upper profile concave, the jaws much produced, equal. Teeth long, slender, pointed, much produced, usually in a single series. First and second dorsal spine short, stout, pungent, third exceedingly elongate, filamentous, as long as or much longer than length of body, the four succeeding successively much shorter, dorsal rays rapidly diminishing in height, forming a concave hind border. The two anterior anal spines short, third nearly thrice in head, soft anal shorter than soft dorsal with a nearly straight hind border. Caudal truncate or slightly rounded with acute angle. Pectorals acutely-rounded, shorter than head. Ventrals with the first ray produced.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Chaetodon canescens Linnaeus, 1758
Chaetodon cornutus Linnaeus, 1758
Zanclus canescens (Linnaeus, 1758)
Zanclus cornotus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Zanclus cornutus Steindachner, 1901
Zanclus cornutus Waite, 1899
Zanclus cornutus Jordan and Mc Gregor, 1899
Chaetodon cornutus Bloch, 1802
Zanclus cornutus Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1831
Zanclus cornutus Bleeker, 1850
Zanclus cornutus Peters, 1855
Zanclus cornutus Montrouzier, 1856
Zanclus cornutus Gunther, 1860
Zanclus cornutus Playfair and Gunther, 1866
Zanclus cornutus Gunther, 1876
Zanclus cornutus Bleeker, 1877
Zanclus cornutus Day, 1888
Zanclus cornutus Lutken, 1880
Zanclus cornutus Macleay, 1881
Zanclus cornutus Jordan and Evermann, 1898
Zanclus canescens Seale, 1901
Zanclus canescens Jordan and Fowler, 1902
Zanclus canescens Jordan and Evermann, 1905
Zanclus cornutus Jordan and Richardson, 1908
Zanclus cornutus M. Weber, 1913
Zanclus cornutus D. S. Jordan and E. K. Jordan, 1925
Zanclus canescens Barnard, 1927
Zanclus cornutus Herre, 1927
Zanclus canescens Fowler, 1928
Zanclus cornutus Dunker and Mohr, 1929
Zanclus canescens Fowler and Bean, 1929
Zanclus cornutus Borodin, 1932
Zanclus cornutus Day, 1878

Common Name (s)
• Moorish Idol (English)
• Butter Fly Fish (English)
• Didanegi
• Kodiyan
• Noorish idol (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Aquarium, Ornamental fish)

Habitat:  Benthic, Reef Associated, Coastal
Prey:  Encrusting sessile invertebrates and small sponges


• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin Coast INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Amini Island (Lat: 11.08) (Long: 72.75) INDIA (Record: 03/1954)
• Palk Bay INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Andrott INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kalpeni INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Karnataka, Netrani Island INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Mandapam INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Cuddalore (Lat: 11.7) (Long: 79.76) INDIA (Record: 01/2004-12/2004)

Literature Source(s)
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  • Kemp, JM (1998) Zoogeography of the coral reef fishes of the Socotra Archipelago Journal of Biogeography 25 919-933
  • Mark, SD and Jarvis, GE (2002) The impact of the 1998 coral mortality on reef fish communities in the Seychelles Marine Pollution Bulletin 44 309-321 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Allen, GR and Mohammed, A (2003) Coral Reef Fishes of Indonesia Zoological Studies 42(1) 26299 Available at - Digital Information Resource Center, Pune.
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  • Tun, MT (2001) Marine fishes of Myanmar (pelagic and demersal) U Than Tun, Director-General, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Myanmar 276 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Weber, M; Beaufort, LF (1936) The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago Print times, Pataudi house, Daryaganj, New Delhi 7 607 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Dr. Kumaraguru, AK (2000) Studies on socioeconomics of Coral Reef resource users in the Gulf of Mannar coast, South India Centre for Marine and Coastal studies School of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India Available at -
  • Kumar, RR and Edward, JKP (2005) Comparative study on the fish assemblages in natural and artificial reefs in Tuticorin, Gulf of Mannar, Southeast coast of India Proceedings of the National Seminar on Reef Ecosystem Remediation SDMRI Special Research Publication No.9 99-104 Available at -
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 Available at -
  • Balan, V (1958) Notes on a visit to certain islands of the Laccadive Archipelago, with special reference to fisheries Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society Bombay Natural History Society 55 (2) 297-306 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1996) Marine ornamental fishes of India Proceedings of the Seminar on Fisheries - A Multibillion Dollar Industry, Madras CMFRI 23-34 Available at -
  • Kumaran, M; Murty, VS and Lalmohan, RS (1989) Resources of ornamental fishes Marine living resources of the union territory of Lakshadweep: An indicative survey with suggestions for development Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI 43 46-64 Available at -
  • Thomas, S; Sreeram, MP; Kakati, VS; Manisseri, MK and George, RM (2011) Coral fish diversity in Netrani waters off Murudeshwar Karnataka, south India Indian journal of fisheries CMFRI 58(1) 45-51 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1969) Catalogue of fishes (excluding from the Laccadives) in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 10 1-38 Available at -
  • Khan, SA; Ramesh, S and Lyla, PS (2008) Diversity of coral reef fishes in cuddalore waters, south-east coast of India Indian Journal of Fisheries Indian Council of Agricultural Research 55(3) 221-226 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Varghese, M; Manisseri, MK; Ramamurthy, N; Geetha, PM; Thomas, VJ and Gandhi, A (2011) Coral reef fishes of Gulf of Mannar, S.E of India Fishing Chimes CMFRI 31(1) 38-40 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Biswas, KP (2009) Fishes around Indian Ocean Reef Fishes Daya publishing house Available at - NIO,Goa

Page last updated on:2011-12-09

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